You don’t always need third party software to spy on your competition.
What are your competitors up to? Are you beating them when it comes to Google results, or are you facing an up-hill battle? When managing your Google AdWords account, you can find out not only what competition you’re facing but how you match up as well.
Chances are, the majority of your traffic and sales are coming from a select group of high performing keywords. For these keywords get some great insights and find out how often the competition are showing up and where they usually show on the page.
AdWords will give you that data for any keyword (provided there’s enough traffic). To find that data, pick a high volume keyword (or group of keywords) using the Keywords tab and tick the box (or boxes) for the keywords selected. Then open the ‘details’ drop down and choose “Auction Insight” & selected. This generally isn’t an exercise to try on all the keywords in your account, just the ones that matter. But you can use ‘all’ to get insights on all keywords in an AdGroup, or even all in a Campaign, if you really need to.
This will pull up a report that will give you details about Impression Share of a fair number (but not all) of your competition. This report will reveal some info that will give you insight as to how you’re travelling for that keyword.
As you can see in the above, “You” are doing quite well. And you can see that you’re competing with Amazon and a few others (more are included, but for this post 3 competitors gets the idea across). The biggest competitor you’re facing is showing up less than half the time while you’re showing up almost 4 times out of 5.
Looking a bit further gives you more details about the impression share of your competitors on this keyword.
For this particular keyword Overlap Rate shows you that Amazon appears on the same page more than half the time. Position Above Rate tells you that about.com & ask.com really aren’t much competition – routinely ranking below your ads. The final metric, Top of Page Rate, shows how often ads appeared above organic search results.
These numbers can help you determine whether you need to take steps to get ahead of your competitors. If you find yourself well behind, resist the temptation to up the bids right away. You might find some other ways to boost your impression share here. If you find out that you’re head and shoulders above the other guys, consider it a job well done and move on to some other keywords!
And if you’re using Product Listing Ads (PLAs) you can now get benchmark data about the CTR & CPC of other advertisers… but that’s a topic for another day!